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Hollyday: I too have been reading all over this forum since I got my lab results about 10 days ago. I am waiting for answers to your questions about as anxiously as you are! Why? Because our situations are SO similar it's almost scary! Your levels are low for sure, but if it makes you feel any better, mine are actually even lower. My doctors are saying that mine are as low as they've seen. I haven't really felt THAT bad like some others have talked about on the forum either. I'm a very active Mom of 3 boys, 12, 18 & 20 - right now I drive them all everywhere. I also run my own interior design business soup to nuts, a lot of it is very physical, installations of window treatment part of it has been a challenge in the last year or two (also the hauling of my toolbox & multiple trips from my van up the stairs to my clients homes carrying my equipment has become almost impossible since about November). I didn't go to the doctor for that either though (I thought I was just getting really out of shape and literally bought a new pair of running shoes the day before my results came in!). I never thought there was anything wrong with my blood. I injured my shoulder in the fall (I think I ripped my rotator cuff while installing a curtain over my head - or maybe it was when I was while building a stone wall near one of my gardens) But then my family did our semi-annual hike up a mountain in NH in November and all I keep thinking as I attempted to keep up with everyone was "oh my gosh, how did I ever get so out of shape"? I couldn't even climb at ALL without my thighs feeling like they were tightening up and just carry the load of me (and I'm an average weight for my height) and my knees feeling like they were screaming out in pain and pressure - let alone that I could hardly sit down just to even catch my breath - I thought my heart was going to stop. My whole family kept saying "come on Mom you can do it!" and I made it to the top but I've never been the same since. I honestly can say I never recovered from that mountain climb last November. I've had arthritis ever since. I just turned 44 last month. I thought for SURE that I had Lymes Disease (2 of my kids have had it). But then I never went to the doctor all winter (haven't been to the doctor in like 10 yrs for ME - only for my kids)...thought it might go away - sucked it up... shoveled too much snow over the winter (and it killed me - I thought I was 100 yrs old).

Well, I've got some big jobs ahead of me and I need to get my shoulder fixed. So I went in there asking for a Lyme test and for my shoulder to be looked at (hoping for some antibiotics to cure my Lyme and maybe a cortizone shot for my shoulder). I didn't get what I was hoping for AT ALL..... Here is what 'some' of my tests revealed (I won't bore you with all of them, just some that I'm finding are here on the forum more often):

- Lyme - Negative (bummer, no antibiotic quick fix)
- Rheumatoid Factor - 27 (5.0 or greater is positive - reference range 0-13.9)
(double bummer - what the heck is THIS?)

- RBC - 4.13 (appears to be on the lower end of the normal range of 4.0-5.2)
- HGB - 6.9 (range 12-15. Also says after this "REPEATED AND CONFIRMED - RESULT HAS BEEN CALLED TO DOCTOR AND HAS BEEN READ BACK") so I knew I was in trouble on the hemoglobin one:dizzy:
- HCT - 26.5 (ref range 36-45)
- PLTS - 557 (ref range 150-450)

- IRON - 9 (ref range 28-170)
% SAT - 2 (ref range 15-50)
FERRITIN - 3 (ref range 10-291)

All the blood stuff was completely foreign to me. I learned by reading on this forum (thank you everyone who posted informative threads in the past!) and asking my doctor. Oh, my doctor immediately made me see a hematologist, a gynacologist, and tomorrow I have to see the rheumatologist (the orthopedic for my shoulder can wait now, we've got bigger fires to put out based on these results above!).

The last 10 days has been a blurr! I can't believe this is all happening to me but you're certainly not alone. My hair has been falling out like crazy (and lost it's lustre) in the last few years too! And oh my GOSH, my restless legs went away after I started taking the supplements too! I'm sleeping better already. My doctor put me on prenatal vitamins first (she was filling in for my PCP). Then my real PCP came back and saw the results and got me in immediately to see the gynocologist that day for my crazy, heavy and long periods that had been going on for probably 8-10 yrs now. I told them my Mom had a hysterectomy at 45 for fibroid cysts and heavy periods and she was anemic until she had her hysto, never again after that. My gynocologist said that I probably have the fibroid cysts but they can probably take care of them right in the office, hysto's are old school for fibroid cysts... I'm not to worry, he thinks the whole anemia problem is a gynocological one. Next day... I see the hematologist, who concurs with the gynocologist but puts me on Farous Sulphate 325 mg, working up to 3 X day (and staying on the prenatal vitamins too since they seemed to make me feel better right away). Hematologist orders more blood work for 10 days later (this will be my 3rd round of bloodwork in 10 days).

Oh my - sorry to hijack your thread with my own issues!:wave:

Today was my ultra-sound (sono-histogram) with my gynocologist. He was shocked and he apologized, admitted he was wrong, my Mom and I were right and it turns out I have one huge fibroid cyst larger than the size of a large, full term baby's head - encompassing my entire uterus, pushing on my spine (causing my all over back pain I hope?). So I said "does this mean we can't just take it out in the office?" he said "No, you're going to have to have a hysterectomy - this is the cause of your blood loss - your anemia".

I'm relieved - we found the cause so early (10 days into this journey after 10 yrs of never treating myself to a doctor visit). But the other side of the coin is tomorrow's Rheumatologist visit (bummer, why did I have to have THAT wrong with me too? Why can't it just be the anemia and hysterectomy issue?).

My fear/question for any experts reading this would be the following. My blood pressure is so low, my hemoglobin so dangerously low that I'm in danger of needing a transfusion (though my gynocologist said I look so good, my complexion, color and whites of my eyes look so good and I still have stamina, that he thinks this has been going on for 10 years, slowly draining my body of my blood stores, slow enough so that my body has been compensating and pushing through this for that long. Now my body at this point is on empty. I am afraid my levels are so dangerously low that there could be a danger in putting me under for this operation! He did say that I can't afford to lose any more blood, so it should be done quickly. But I'm worried about losing blood during the surgery. Or what about them losing my pulse! He had to have me roll over to my left side just so he could properly hear my heartbeat. I will call the doctor back tomorrow. Just wondering if anybody knows. I asked him if we shouldn't try to build up my blood more first and he said my body can't make it fast enough to keep up, the blood loss won't stop until we get the uterus/cyst out. So we're scheduled for June 6th... 3 days after my middle son's high school graduation. I'm happy about this, just nervous about the low blood thing during surgery.

Hollyday - so sorry to make this all about me. Can you tell me if you've had your Ferritin done? I read that is your blood cell stores. I think that as your iron climbs with the supplements (if you don't have absorption issues... is that the %SAT for saturation? Can't remember)... your ferritin (think of it as your extra pantry, extra blood cell storage I think) should increase too. The Ferritin is supposed to be at least 50-70 I hear (mine is 3 - OMG how pathetic is my blood right now!).

I hope you'll continue sharing your 'what's next' here - I'd like to follow this thread.

Take care and I'm so glad you are feeling the relief that I'm feeling with the RLS, maybe our hair will stop falling out before it becomes noticeable. Can you share more about your arthritis? I'd like to avoid that right now, but doctors say I need to go to that appointment tomorrow and face that problem too (whatever it may be)... Please ask your doctor before increasing the iron, my doctor has me on 325 farous sulphate 3Xday... but maybe your doctor has you on a lower amount for a reason? You are taking something different, maybe it's concentrated and has more in it or something? Don't mess around with it though I heard iron is toxic, so ask your doctor.

I welcome any advice - promise my replies won't be as long as this one!
Holly; Oh my gosh - it's SO funny how similar isn't it? The biggest 'difference' is that I've been super healthy all my life - I mean except for being a 'day dreamer' in elementary school (lack of focus? Mental fatigue? I had TMJ, used to grind my teeth at night - stressed a lot about school/grades as a teen), I never really had any 'physical' fatigue growing up or after until recent years. Anybody that's known me as an adult knows I'm a high energy, fast walking (fast typing!), zipping from one place to another (ALWAYS to pick up or drop off one of my kids), always repainting a room, sewing new curtains, refinishing a piece of furniture, digging a new garden, building a stonewall, even painting my house while hubby was away on a business trip kind of gal! I just turned 44 last month! Now that I look back at RECENT years... I can't believe how long it's been since I've done a project for my house, how I used to be able to keep up with the housecleaning, the laundry - in the last couple of years it's all just piled up. I do have my business to blame too, I'm very busy running my own business, but back when I got all these projects done, I was working outside of the home and only had one or two days off/week! So I think (I hope) it's the fact that my anemia sapped my energy? That's what I'm hoping for. I'm hoping to regain the energy I used to have. I just hope this arthritis thing doesn't get in my way. I have not been diagnosed yet with the arthritis, just the Rheumatoid factor of 27 showed up on my blood test and the positive antibodies too and more specific bloodwork for that is being tested now, won't be back for about a week I guess :dizzy: Oh BROTHER - with all the anemia & now hysterectomy stuff recently dumped on me, do you think I want to even 'think' about 'arthritis' right now too? I've already decided that no matter what it is - I'm going to try to go the homeopathic route and treat it with vitamins, exercise and after I recover from my surgery, I want to try taking yoga for the first time. It seems like that would just be so perfect for my newly arthritic body. Why don't you TRY YOGA!!! Oh, yes, I'm so glad I just thought of that! My oldest son and his girlfriend are doing it 2X3 times a week together, they LOVE it. My son has had some issues in the past, (he's been on lots of meds in the past - we've decided they are all quick fixes - and homeopathic remedies and getting to the root of the problem is the way to treat, not 99% of these meds that doctors prescribe like candy) before this girlfriend, and I think a combination of the great girlfriend and the yoga (and a full time job) is helping his mind, body and soul emensely! I heard yoga can treat depression! It makes so much sense, it's stretching, getting your body loose and limber, meditation, it's fabulous for your mind and body and soul ...

Okay now about your iron. I'm so surprised your doctor is so nonchalant about things like how much iron to take? Why don't you seek a new doctor? Sounds like the two of you don't have good chemistry together anyway. As for the stomach upset or constipation with the iron - my doctor didn't tell me this, my doctor just said to work up to 325X3/day Farous Sulphate and make sure to take it on a full stomach. The pharmacist that I asked about it said take a stool softener with each one. So I bought stool softeners right along with the iron and take them together. I have not had even one problem whatsoever. You probably don't want to take as much as I'm taking because your hemoglobin is not as low as mine, but ... Oh, I wanted to tell you that before I ever saw a specialist, my regular doctor was out on maternity leave and her 'fill in' doctor was the one reading these results for the first time, and she referred me to a couple of the specialists, sent me for more bloodwork and had me buy prenatal vitamins to start taking after the bloodwork was done. I can tell you that even though the doctors all tell me it must have been in my head because I shouldn't feel better for a couple of weeks... I started feeling better within 48 hrs of taking those prenatal vitamins! REALLY - so now my hematologist and my regular doctor who is now back from maternity leave say it's not really necessary to take the prenatal vitamins with the iron too however, since it seems to be making me feel better, there must be something in them that's helping me so by all means, keep taking them!!!

Oh Holly, I'm really wanting you to feel better. I wish you were my neighbor, I'd love to chat over a cup of coffee about all this and about life with 3 boys vs. life with 3 girls and how crazy it is with them all these ages right now (did you ever think it would get even MORE chaotic when they got older??? I sure didn't!!!). I want some of my new energy to rub off on you!:D (btw, my 18 yr old just turned 18 less than 2 weeks ago, and my 12 yr old will be 13 tomorrow so our kids ages are closer than we first may have thought!)...

Have you considered that this pain could just be part of your osteo-arthritis? Why wouldn't it be? I'm wondering why you think that it's your blood and not your arthritis in your bones? And if that's the case, shouldn't it be your rheumatologist that's dealing with these issues with you and not your hematologist? Just curious - looking at all this for the first time and all...

Thank you so much for all your thoughtful answers to my own problems. You are a common sense kind of gal, just like me! We totally think alike and your answers make complete sense, thank you!

Feel better today okay? I've got the busiest day, my youngest is turning 13 tomorrow, his friends are throwing a big party for him at one of their houses (I just found out - need to see if I can help somehow)- my middle son has prom tonight, we all have a wedding to attend tomorrow... but I'll be watching for any added notes by you :wave:

Your new friend;),
Michelle
Hi Holly;

I'm not really worried about the surgery itself, it's fairly routine (except that my fibroid tumor is a big one at 10cm, the size of a full term baby's head the doctor told me - then the nurse said 'or a cantaloupe'...) I was just concerned about my low hemoglobin and ferritin and other levels and going into surgery that way, otherwise, I'm not the kind of person that gets scared about stuff like that.

Thanks so much for all the advice - I'm doing my best to be prepared, but my Mom will come down and stay for as long as she's needed, and my husband will be working from home as needed too... and as long as I have my trusty laptop, I'll be able to communicate with the world which will make me happy :)

But I'm SO excited to get my 5th round of bloodwork done today (in 2 1/2 weeks)!!! Not something most people would be excited about but since I've been on iron and prenatal vitamins for 2 1/2 weeks, I feel SO much better - my energy, especially mental, a lot of the physical energy is coming back too - I'm not huffing and puffing and my legs don't burn when I climb the stairs with a load of laundry anymore (which the doctor told me not to do but I simply can't stand it! I'm trying to get caught up before my surgery when I'll be DOWN for anywhere from 10 days to a month or more, who knows?

We went to a wedding Saturday night and I know I'm not supposed to get myself winded or out of breath or anything and I'm NOT a dancer by any means, but my kids were all out there dancing and then the DJ played a song by Lady Ga Ga and I just HAD to get out there and dance with my boys! I feel so much better (and I still have this tumor in me), amazing! I do feel the weight of it sometimes though, now that I'm aware that it's there... almost like that heavy feeling way down low that I remember getting after the baby dropped and delivery was getting nearer. I'm trying to do some toning exercises without getting winded too, like crunches (don't you think if my abdomen muscles are tighter they will react faster to recovery after my upcoming hystorectomy?).

So anyway - wish me luck with my blood tests today... think positive thoughts... think higher levels...

I hope that the floods aren't effecting you, I've been thinking of you as I watch the news. Stay safe!
Your Nahhhthern friend,:wave:
Michelle





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